BHS student’s artwork receives national recognition
BLACKSBURG — Blacksburg High School junior Leyla Kiran will travel to New York City on June 1 to attend an art awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall.
Kiran was awarded a silver medal and recognized nationally for her drawing titled “Nouveaux.”
Presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2012 received more than 200,000 submissions. Of those 200,000 submissions, only 1,500 students received national medal awards.
In addition to the silver medal, Kiran was awarded top regional honors with Gold Key Awards.
“I had never entered an art competition like this before, so I wasn’t sure where my work would stand amongst all the other entries,” Kiran said. “I certainly wasn’t expecting to win three awards.”
Kiran wasn’t the only Blacksburg High student to receive national recognition.
Freshman Sara Westmoreland was nominated for an American Visions award for her drawing “Marilyn Monroe.”
“To be recognized like this is quite astonishing to me,” Westmoreland said.
“This is the first time I was acknowledged like this for my artwork, so it’s quite amazing.”
Kiran and Westmoreland were among 17 students at BHS to at least receive regional recognition.
Blacksburg High art teacher Jesi Pace-Berkeley said she pushes her students to reach beyond what they think they can accomplish, but her teamwork class atmosphere helps foster that mentality.
“The best part of Ms. Pace-Berkeley’s class for me is all the mediums I get to work with,” Westmoreland said. “I believe the variety helps me grow as an artist and I would never get to know the full expanse of my ability like that on my own.”
Because of the variety, Pace-Berkeley is giving students a chance to explore their own abilities while sharing in the exploration of their peers’ abilities.
“My students work hard to reach high standards,” Pace Berkeley said. “They work together, physically and emotionally, supporting one another.”
Pace-Berkeley is unable to attend the awards ceremony in New York City with Kiran but is thrilled that one of her students is getting the chance to be recognized nationally.
“I am overwhelmed with pride for their art accomplishments and gratitude for the opportunity to share my knowledge with each student,” Pace-Berkeley said.
Pace-Berkeley said that in addition to Kiran’s artistic ability, she is a leader among her peers. Kiran is extremely conscientious, talented, conceptual and motivated, Pace-Berkeley added.
“[Kiran’s] work stands out, in my opinion, because of her excellent mastery of all forms of drawing,” Pace-Berkeley said. “In addition, she captures and expresses strong, evocative concepts.”
Kiran said she’s excited about going to New York City and seeing the entire gallery of winners.
“There are so many exciting aspects about going to New York, but I am definitely excited about seeing all the award-winning student artwork and hopefully meeting some of those talented people,” Kiran said. “Each person has a totally different approach to making art, which I love.”
Both Kiran and Westmoreland wish to pursue a future and career in art. Kiran hopes to focus on art and design while Westmoreland wants to share her talent through tattoos, much like her idol, Kat Von D.
For now, both will stick to impressing their teachers, classmates and the art community with their work at BHS.
“As an aspiring artist, the best I can hope for is to have the opportunity to exhibit my work and receive as much exposure as possible,” Kiran said.
“This is a much greater privilege than I could have imagined.”
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627
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